Baby cockroaches are more technically known as nymph cockroaches. If you see one of these newborn pests in your house, there’s most likely a nest nearby, which means you’re either in the middle of a cockroach infestation or one is about to begin.
This guide shows you how to identify different kinds of baby cockroaches, determine the kind of threat they pose to your home, figure out where they’re most likely nesting, and choose a plan to eradicate them.
WHAT DOES A BABY COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
The quickest way to differentiate between baby cockroaches and adult versions is to check for wings. On a baby cockroach, the wings won’t have developed yet, so you’ll see only a hard exterior shell where the wings would be. However, not all species of cockroaches develop wings as adults, so a lack of wings doesn’t necessarily confirm that you’re dealing with a baby cockroach.
Wings aside, baby cockroaches share some visual similarities across different species. These include two thin antennae that sprout from the head, two small rear organs known as cerci that help the cockroach navigate its surroundings by sensing vibrations in the environment, and a downward-bent head.
The most common species of cockroach in the United States is the German cockroach. Other cockroach species you might come across in a U.S. home include the American cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, and the smoky brown cockroach. There are a number of minor visual differences between them; knowing what they are can help you determine the most effective plan of attack for handling an infestation.
HOW BIG IS A BABY COCKROACH?
As you might expect from the name, baby cockroaches are quite tiny. A baby American cockroach averages about 1.6 inches in length, or about twice the diameter of a penny.
Even with its small size, the American version is the largest home-invasive species of cockroach. Baby German cockroaches, baby brown-banded cockroaches, and baby Oriental cockroaches average approximately one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch in length, or about the size of an ant or a grain of rice. When they first hatch, they’re barely visible. All baby and adult cockroaches have six legs.
Of course, baby cockroaches eventually grow significantly past their nymph-stage size. An adult American cockroach can grow to over 3 inches in length, although most are closer to 2 inches. Oriental and smoky brown adult cockroaches usually grow to between 1 inch and an inch and a half. The German and brown-banded adult versions are the smallest, maxing out at just over half an inch in length.
WHAT DOES A BABY AMERICAN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
In addition to being larger than other cockroach species, the American cockroach can be identified by its unique coloration. All cockroaches are white when they first hatch, but American cockroaches develop a reddish-brown tint fairly early in their molting cycles. There’s also a light yellow marking near the front of their shells, just behind the head.
Both American and German cockroaches have a banded look on their main bodies, which can help differentiate them from Oriental and smoky brown examples of the species. Those cockroaches have solid-colored shells of black and brown, respectively.
WHAT DOES A BABY GERMAN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
Immediately after hatching, a German cockroach is white and extremely small — almost too small to be seen with the naked eye. Baby German cockroaches share the banded look of American cockroaches, but are more clearly brown, lacking the reddish tint of the American version. Most baby German cockroaches also have a light-colored marking that runs up the rear half of their shells.
CAN A BABY COCKROACH FLY?
Cockroaches can’t fly until their wings are developed, which usually happens within six months to a year of hatching. If you’re dealing with a flying cockroach, then you know it’s already gone through most or all of the molting stages and is considered an adult.
Note that American cockroaches are better at flying than most other species of the pest. Some don’t use their wings at all, while others tend to use their wings primarily to glide.
HOW MANY BABIES CAN A COCKROACH HAVE?
While individual American cockroaches are larger than their German counterparts, German cockroaches make up what they lack in size through their numbers. The adult females of both species lay cases of eggs; German cockroaches lay between 30 and 40 eggs in a case, while American cockroaches lay about 15 eggs per case. An adult female German cockroach can hatch up to 300 babies over in its lifespan, while an adult female American cockroach hatches approximately half that number.
Part of the reason why the German cockroach is the most common is that the females of the species carry their eggs with them right up until they hatch, making it much more likely their babies will survive to torment you.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU FIND A BABY COCKROACH?
If you find a baby cockroach in or near your home, you need to figure out where the nest is and what to do about it.
Cockroaches don’t care for bright lights or open spaces, so you’ll want to start your search in dark enclosed areas such as plumbing pipes and inside cabinets. You should also take a look behind and under large appliances, such as refrigerators and ranges. It’s a good idea to deny cockroaches access to any food sources, such as open trash containers or lightly packaged food stored in unlit locations.
Moist, humid areas are particularly appealing as nesting spots for Oriental cockroaches, which is why they’re often referred to as water bugs. If you have any puddles, pools, or other kinds of standing water in or around your house, consider removing them out to deny the cockroaches a potential nesting area.
Once you’ve located the nest and physically destroyed it, set out baits and traps in the infested areas to further reduce the population. However, if the infestation has had some time to develop, you might not be able to fully eliminate it without professional help.
It’s not a good idea to ignore a cockroach infestation or hope it goes away on it own. These pests can carry a wide variety of diseases into your home, including salmonella, typhoid fever, and even leprosy. With over 50 years of experience handling pest removal throughout North Carolina, Clegg’s can help. Contact us today for professional assistance, friendly service, and advanced eradication tactics that help you make your home your own again.
To learn more about cockroaches and their habits, visit our cockroach control page. We are the experts at cockroach extermination because we know all about them, so don’t hesitate to contact us today and speak to a professional.